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Excessive Fuel In Engine Blamed For Russian Proton Launch Failure

By | January 6, 2003

      Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, a joint venture partner in International Launch Services Inc., (ILS) made available information regarding the investigation into the Nov. 26 Proton K/Block DM launch. That mission failed to place the Astra 1K satellite into proper orbit and has been under investigation since that time.

      The Russian State Failure Commission concluded that the engine of the Block DM experienced excessive temperatures and was destroyed during its second ignition, resulting in the separation of the spacecraft into the wrong orbit. Indications are that there was excessive fuel in the main engine at the time of the second burn, leading to the burn-through.

      The commission is expected to release its final report and recommended corrective actions next month. ILS’ failure review oversight board will then commence a review of the final report and issue its findings at the appropriate time.

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